Cooties, Creepy Crawlies, and other foster ick.
Otherwise known as, the perils of poop! (Among other things.) What kind of things can fosters bring in? And how contagious are they? Should this list make you panic? No - but proper sanitary procedures, and diligent "poop scooping" is highly recommended. You may NEVER see dogs with many of the things listed here; but if you do, the information is available.
Here's a list of the things we commonly see on routine testing:
Coccidia: Often seen in dogs rescued from puppy mills. Main symptom is generally diarrhea, which may include blood or mucous, often coupled with a lack of appetite. Coccidia from diarrhea generally has a very distinctive "odor". The common veterinary treatment is albon for 5 days. Please be aware that coccidia can be tough to kill, and many common disinfectants are not effective. Ammonia is one commonly available cleaner that is effective. Coccidia is passed via infected fecal matter - often, this is worse in mill dogs who eat feces. More info available here.
Giardia: Often found in areas of standing water, and can also be passed by fecal contact. Yep, you guessed it - more diarrhea! Dogs may also lose weight, and have a lack of appetite. Blood or mucous may be present, but not as commonly as with coccidia. Giardia can be difficult to see in a stool test, so if the symptoms are there, treating for giardia may be prudent. The veterinary treatment of choice is generally flagyl (metronidazole), although Panacur may also be effective. Humans CAN catch giardia! (It is NOT a pleasant experience!!!) Take appropriate sanitary precautions - Lysol, ammonia, and bleach can all eliminate giardia, and standing water should not be allowed in or around dog yards. More info available here.
Roundworm: More info available here.
Diseases, and other nasties:
Parvo: The most prevalent of "shelter diseases", behind kennel cough. Transmitted via feces - symptoms include fever, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. Infected dogs need immediate medical treatment - survival rates vary, but if they make it past the first 3-4 days recovery is a good possibility. If you've had a parvo dog - BLEACH EVERYTHING. Extreme care should be used to disinfect anything the dog has come in contact with. Parvo can live in the environment for 6+ months, so new dogs without a known vaccine history will be at risk. Three good links on parvo, causes, treatment, and "cleanup": Parvo, Parvo FAQ, Canine Parvo Virus